Sound Rebound

Date Created


Project Team Size


Skills Used

Prototyping, Interaction Design, Sound Design, Swift

AppStore Listing

Sound Rebound is a sound and design App built by myself and Dina Herring for the Digital Experience Lab at the Exploratorium. It incorporates elements of the Japanese mechanical game pachinko, pinball, and a Rube Goldberg machine. The app was originally inspired by an exhibit on the Exploratorium floor called Pinbell, an open-faced pinball machine that allows visitors to lay out their own pinball playfield and experiment with the sound and movement it makes.

Pinbell Exhibit, Exploratorium

Sound Rebound encourages playful creativity with a flexible, open-ended user experience. By laying out their own playfield and sending balls through it, people use the app to compose music, construct kinetic art, and manipulate sound and visual cycles into mesmerizing creations.

Early Sound Rebound Design Sketch

In reinventing a physical exhibit in digital form, we went beyond just copying the physical interaction onto a device. This app has the satisfying sounds and motions of a physical playfield – the clangs and clunks, the dings, the wheels that spin, and the intense anticipation of waiting for enough balls to build up and topple a barrier – but in the digital space we can also tap into a nearly infinite variety of shapes, sound, and motions. While in the physical world it would be hard for most people to lift an entire pinball machine, anyone can rotate or shake their phone to see what happens. And users can design, adjust and readjust, and save their creations with just a simple tap.

Sound Rebound was the first app that we created with minimal English text and more emphasis on physical interaction. Because of this, the app has had great success in global markets. As of (Feb. 2019) Sound Rebound is ranked in 147 App Stores (iOS) around the world, its most dominant category being Kids 9 to 11.

App Description

Imagine yourself inside a fluid world of 2-D shapes and design. What does it look and sound like? That’s up to you. Sound Rebound is a creative space for you to build mesmerizing interactions, dynamic collages, or whatever comes to mind. Orchestrate bounces and bumps and explore the color of sound.

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